With August being Early Learning Month, the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe is urging parents to enroll their 4-year-olds into free pre-K programs throughout the Keys.  

There are 24 licensed schools from MM 0 to MM 105.5, and children should be 4 years old before Sept. 1. 

Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers sits on the Early Learning Coalition and is leading the drive to get kids enrolled. 

“I’ve been involved with a lot of the early learning programs and it came to my attention there are a lot of people who don’t seem to know this is available to them,” she said. “This has been out there a while, and we want to make sure that folks know this is an option for them.”

Evilio Torres, president and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition, said that since 85 percent of a child’s brain develops before the age of 5, making exposure to high-quality early education at an early age is extremely important to overall development.

“Our hope is that the August rally will help inform parents that free pre-kindergarten is available throughout the Keys and that it’s a very simple process for them to enroll their child in a program,” he said. 

The state Office of Early Learning pays for the program. 

Five-year-olds can also qualify. 

Parents can visit one of the 24 schools or call 305-296-5557 for more information. 

Coalition sets conference

On Sept. 22, the Early Learning Coalition will hold its all-day Monroe Early Childhood Conference and Resiliency Summit in Key West. It welcomes community partners along with early learning and child-care leaders to celebrate strong children, families and communities. 

To register and learn more visit trainings.elcmdm.org 

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